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166                                    FLORA   IND1CA.
on the banks of the creeks which traverse the Sunderbunds iu
the western part of the delta. . There mangroves, Sonneratia,
jflZgiccrdS) and Herith-ra, mingled with gigantic grasses and
Tyjpha, abound. Nipa Jritlwans fringes the watercourses, and
vast tracts are covered with Pha>nix paludosa, an elegant little
palm six or eight feet in height.
The vegetation of Bengal has been well explored. The foun-
dation of its ilora \\as laid by Roxburgh, who was appointed
in the year 179$ to-the superintendence of the Calcutta Bo-
tanic Gardens, which, by la's labours and those of his distin-
guished successors Hamilton and Wallich, became very rich
in tropical plants. A complete enumeration of the plants
of Bengal is found in Roxburgh's c Flora Indica/ Griffith's
* Itinerary Notes' and Voigt's ' llortus Suburbanus' also eon-
tain notices of many indigenous .species.
11. TKt> Himalaya.
To the north of the great plain of Ilindostan is situated a
mountain-tract of great extent, strictly defined oil its plain-
ward face, and increasing in elevation as we advance toward*
the interior. As a whole, this tract is extremely rugged, lofty
mountain-chains being separated by deep valleys* Amid the
numerous and intricate ramifwatiom of these chains there
is considerable dilliculty in acquiring a definite idea of the
composition of the mass. Superficial observation gives the
impression that numerous ranges rise one "behind another,
the more distant of whieh ave loftier than those in front; but
a nearer approach shows the fallacy of this, impression, and
proves that the arrangement is much tews nhnplc.
A prodigiously olovated but scarcely Jkitown chain traverses
Asia from east to west' iu about 80* N. lat. South of this
chain How two rivers, the Indus and the Brahmaputra, which,
rising nearly together, run in directly opposite directions j
one nearly \ręst; the other ueai'ly east. Throughout tlie
greater.part of iheir course they pre*evvc these direction**,